Rick Pluta

Managing Editor, Michigan Public Radio Network

    

A state appeals court judge has ruled there was no violation of Michigan’s open meetings act when the state Capitol was closed while the Legislature debated and voted on a right-to-work law. Judge Deborah Servitto dismissed the lawsuit without allowing the case to go to trial.

Democratic lawmakers and union activists filed the challenge. They wanted the law thrown out because two years ago, Republican leaders and the State Police ordered the doors to the Capitol locked as the Legislature debated and voted on the controversial legislation.

More than 300 gay and lesbian couples in Michigan are legally married now that Governor Rick Snyder has decided not to contest a court order. It says the state has to recognize the marriages that took place last spring.

But, the state will continue to defend the same-sex marriage ban in a case before the US Supreme Court.

It was Snyder’s call whether the state would appeal after a federal judge ruled that more than 300 same-sex couples are legally married and told the state to treat them as married.

An economic study says the May ballot proposal to raise the state sales tax could also collectively cost Michigan taxpayers $100 million more in federal income taxes.

The ballot proposal would raise the state sales tax by a penny on the dollar.

A federal appeals court says a former assistant state attorney general owes millions of dollars for stalking and harassing a gay student leader at the University of Michigan.

        

The episode has already cost Andrew Shirvell his job as a lawyer for the state. Now, he also owes $3.5 million to former UM student body president Chris Armstrong.

Shirvell challenged the jury award. He said he was exercising his First Amendment right to protest against a public figure. He also said the judgment was excessive.

An economic study says the May ballot proposal to raise the state sales tax could also collectively cost Michigan taxpayers $100 million more in federal income taxes.

        

The ballot proposal would raise the state sales tax by a penny on the dollar.

A check by state health officials over the past year found an uptick in the number of retailers illegally selling tobacco to minors. The Department of Community Health Survey found 18 percent of retailers sold tobacco to minors. That’s a seven percentage point jump from two years ago.

Jennifer Smith of the Department of Community Health says the state plans to step up education and enforcement efforts.

Governor Rick Snyder says improving services for the mentally ill is a major civil rights issue. And he says it’s a high priority in his second term.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Governor Rick Snyder last night delivered his 5th State of the State Address on Tuesday evening. The Republican touched on a number of topics and even took a swipe at Washington. Still, he had to spend time discussing what was left undone last year that he wants accomplished in 2015. 


A federal judge says Michigan must recognize the marriages of 300 gay and lesbian couples that were performed last March. They were all married the day after a federal judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, but before an appeals court put the order on hold.  Judge Mark Goldsmith says the marriages were legal and must be recognized by the state. His order takes effect in 21 days.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

Governor Rick Snyder has begun his second term as Michigan’s 48th governor. He took the oath of office in a ceremony on the steps of the state Capitol in the freezing cold.   Rick Pluta was there. 


Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation that forbids athletes at public universities in Michigan from organizing a union. It was one of 17 bills signed today by the governor.

The university athlete bill is an effort to preempt what happened at Northwestern University in Illinois, where football players at the private college voted last spring to form a union. There was no known similar effort at a Michigan university.

State officials are reporting what they say is a small natural gas leak in a pipeline in the Upper Peninsula that’s owned by Enbridge Energy.

Brad Wurfel of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says the leak near Manistique was discovered, reported, and fixed by Enbridge. He says there was a small amount of liquid natural gas
released, but it quickly evaporated. 

“The good news is there’s no lingering environmental damage to discuss with this incident,” he said. 

Michigan Public Radio Network

Detroit officially exits bankruptcy

At the stroke of midnight, the city of Detroit officially exits of bankruptcy. Governor Rick Snyder has signed the order terminating the city’s emergency manager, and officially transferring control to the mayor and the city council.

The action is something of a formality since Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has had control over most day-to-day operations for months now.

Rick Snyder
Michigan Public Radio Network

Snyder: House transit plan not sufficient

Governor Rick Snyder says a plan adopted by the state House to shift sales taxes collected on fuel sales to roads won’t work. He says that could rob schools and local governments of money they need to operate.

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Religious protection bill teed up for House vote

A bill that's supposed to protect people exercising sincerely held religious beliefs has been approved by the state House on a party-line vote.
 

Michigan Public Radio Network

House holds hearing on LGBT civil rights bill

A state House committee adjourned Wednesday without voting on
legislation that would add LGBT protections to Michigan's civil rights
law, and it appears the effort has stalled as the Legislature grows
close to wrapping up for the year.

State Rep. Frank Foster (R-Petoskey) both testified and presided over
the hour-long hearing that allowed supporters and opponents to voice
their opinions. He said it's time for Michigan to update its civil
rights law.

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MI asks federal judge to end oversight of child foster care

Michigan wants out from under court-ordered oversight of the state's child foster care system. The state filed a motion Tuesday with the US District Court in Detroit to bring an end to the protracted litigation.

The class action lawsuit was filed in 2006 by the advocacy group Children's Rights. The court found high caseloads and too many kids who weren't finding permanent homes.

http://www.milmi.org/

Michigan jobless rate falls slightly to 7.1 percent

More people were looking for work last month, but more businesses were hiring, which helped drive Michigan's unemployment rate to 7.1 percent, the lowest it's been so far this year.

That's one-tenth of a percentage point below where it was a month ago, and one-and-half percentage points below a year ago.

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Judge allows legal challenge to emergency manager law to move ahead

A federal judge in Detroit has refused to toss out a legal challenge to Michigan's emergency manager law. Judge Joseph Caram Steeh will allow a trial on the claim the law violates equal protection rights in the US Constitution.

Michigan Public Radio Network

DeBoer case appealed to SCOTUS

The legal team for April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse filed its appeal Monday with the US Supreme Court. They want the court to rule that Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage and others like it across the country are unconstitutional.

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Snyder says Electoral College overhaul should wait

Governor Rick Snyder says he's not on board with changing how Michigan divvies up presidential electors. A bill that was just rolled out would change Michigan from a winner-take-all state to one that divides the votes between the Democratic and Republican candidates.
    
The bill's Republican sponsor says making Michigan more competitive will mean more attention from presidential candidates.

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A debate is shaping up in the Michigan House on whether Michigan's civil rights law should be expanded to protect gays, lesbians, and bisexuals from discrimination. There's also a fight brewing on whether those protections should extent to transgender people.


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DNR adds 7 invasive species to banned list

With the addition of seven new plants and animals, Michigan now bans 40 non-native species. That means they cannot be possessed or transported in Michigan or the rest of the Great Lakes region.

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Chief justice: Michigan has more vets courts than other states

The Michigan Supreme Court hosted a training day for judges and others assigned to work in specialty veterans courts. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Young says veterans accused and convicted of crimes have unique issues that must be addressed if they're going to be rehabilitated.  

michigan.gov

Schuette, DeBoer and Rowse to cooperate in getting same-sex marriage case before SCOTUS

Attorney General Bill Schuette and the couple trying to overturn Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage are on opposite sides of the case. But they’ve agreed they will cooperate in trying to get the case on the US Supreme Court docket during the current session.

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